Layout 2018 - not up to par with other drafting software



I’m not sure this is true. Skp I think might use multi-core threading (but possibly not layout). See this post:


Sketchup is single core but it’s not about the $ or time to reprogram. I don’t think any CAD program supports multi-thread for the modeling, some do for other actions like rendering. Many have tried for years to split the number crunching, so far nobody has found a way make it work, I’m not holding my breath.


Yes, single threaded, but that’s the nature of the type of operations,CAD apps and 3D modelers are single threaded. There had been discussions around splitting viewports over threads as each viewport is sort of its own operation.


Hi, I don’t know about the iMac pro but I just built a hackintosh to run su and lo. ( and other things) hoping that horsepower, ram and gpu would help lo. (i7 8700k (6 core@3.7 ghz o/c to 4.3), 32Gb, gtx 1080ti), I was moving from an 2013 i7 retina MBP. It had a slight improvement, but marginal, SU was much faster, mostly from the GPU upgrade. LO load times were better from the M2 ssd.


I’ve been using LayOut since it’s inception (it is still a relatively young program) . It clearly was not, initially designed to be a CAD program. It was patterned, it seems, to be similar to Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Obviously it was designed to help a professional create impressive graphical presentations for clients utilizing SU models. It was filling a ‘hole’ that existed. Then people began to use it to do CDs. I’m sure this came largely out of a frustration with AutoCAD and a desire to cut ties with Autodesk. At least that was one of my main reasons for making the switch - that and the idea of building my design and documenting it in software designed to work together with SU. I just finished two commercial buildings entirely in SU and LO. It was a very steep (and frustrating at times) learning curve. There are many things I like about the way LO works, but the problem remains that LO still acts somewhat like Illustrator or Draw and I would never consider creating CDs in either of those programs.

I believe that Trimble does not realize the potential that it has with SU and LO. I have a friend who is an architect and I am in the process of assisting him in converting over to a SU and LO workflow to complete his projects. I believe that many more architects would do the same if they could “draft” in layout as quickly as they can in AutoCAD. I have also worked with Revit. It is a very powerful program but it is very “gear headed”. It lacks the freedom and lack of restraint that SU inherently has, plus it’s ridiculously complicated and overpriced - typical of all AutoDesk products.

Many of the concerns that have been expressed here I also share, though I have not experienced as extreme delay issues that others complain of. I think that LO needs to add 2D CAD type commands and functionality and I do not believe that this should be left to someone else as a plugin or extension - that’s a “cop out”. Perhaps there could be a drafting mode and a presentation mode. In drafting mode I would like these accursed boxes around the text gone (if that is at all possible), or at least act a lot more like text in AutoCAD. We need commands like offset, trim, extend etc. etc. Ideally all of my construction details would be in 3D, however that is just not economically feasible when starting out in this process with commercial buildings - too many details. As a result, I had to bring 2D details (from my extensive CAD library) into SU and edit them there for use in my CDs. That is tedious and it seems as though I should be able to bring them directly into LO and place them on the sheet and edit them as I would in any other CAD program.

The other critical feature that must work perfectly is exporting to the .dwg file format without the need for extensive cleanup work. I must be able to send CAD files to my engineers easily and seamlessly. The feature as it stands works, but not near as well as it needs to.

It is easy to forget the process that we all went through when AutoCAD was young and lacked many of the current features that it has. I am willing to be patient (and frankly pay more) as long as the process moves LO and SU toward more sophisticated and complete programs. Oh, and can we please fix the SU stability problem. I crash everyday, not matter what, at least once.


I believe Trimble realizes.

But I also think that, unfortunately, SU development lived a long time assuming Sketchup was only a sidekick software for architectural firms and if even if these firms would use it, more it was to do some quick 3d and presentations, not full projects.

Layout was created with that in mind but users started pushing it.

I honestly think that if Sketchup team (or if google) realized the full of it’s potential for architecture, sooner, layout was made different from the start. I also believe that it was this potential that Trimble invested in.

Fully agree. That seems to be the root of the problem. The thing is that this is also why layout output seems to look so good. (Sketchup models and styles help a lot!)

i have been doing drafting in section cut faces and I love it as it’s simple to sync 2d with a 3d sketchup model. The model becomes accurate and the detail is simpler to draft than in autocad.

However I don’t use standard details and tend to draw them per project. My projects are very local and smalk, but fully detailed and as diversified as i can make them.

Drafting in Layout is therefore not what I recommend.

Even so, having some drafting tools there would help a lot.

I’d rather have all drawing tools working as sketchup’s, instead of CAD alike. Current workflow, (as vector illustration, isn’t good)

I’d say that’s what I love. Bring/draw scaled 2d details on sectioncutfaces, think accuratelly on them and then adjust the model accordingly.

exactly. We work differently, our design method is better, we can communicate better our output is better, but the standard still is dwg.

It must be flawless…

when sketchup was yoin it lacked layout…

Imagine if you’d work without it.


I concur with almost everything I’ve ever seen you write on this topic, but especially this point. The goal isn’t to replicate AC inside of SU/LO, it’s to extend SU’s power and ease-of-use into the production of presentation documents / CD’s — and to facilitate integrated workflows (that may include AC).

As such, tools need to work as similarly as possible to SU’s, in order to remove the cognitive load of the constant context-switching between SU/LO. (in other words, drawing in parallel projection / std views in SU and 2D drawing in LO should FEEL the same, using the equivalent tools in similar ways.)

Don’t get me started on the Gizmo… :frowning:

LO has improved significantly, and I’m looking forward to upgrading to SU Pro 2018 (once I upgrade my computer), to take advantage of these improvements — especially scaled drawing — but there are are still too many differences in the way the two programs handle the most basic stuff.

We love what LO can do and the quality of the output, but there is still too much pain / too many work arounds / lagging performance and UI inconsistencies not to feel the annoyance and frustration.

If LO were as adept and efficient to use for the back-end of the process (producing CD’s) as SU is at the front end, we wouldn’t see/need threads like these.


I am so glad this discussion is being had… we do hear and feel your frustrations and have made changes in 2018 to address these pain points. As mentioned, we need to address where we came from as a software and improve moving forward.

In regards to this comment…

In 2018 now allow for importing of dwg’s into LayOut and the use case you described is exactly the folks we were targeting. I would be curious to know if you ran into issues doing this that prevented you bringing them straight in. - Please let me know…

I would also like to point out that we added Offset (including offsetting to both sides) in 2017… and I do understand your desire for a ‘Trim’ or ‘Extend’ like feature. We did make some good updates in 2018 to our ability to edit our paths by double clicking to enter, grabbing an endpoint or a line and adjusting it that I find to be super helpful.

Again, please let me know if you need any clarity on any of the above.



Thanks for your comments Trent, we know you guys monitor the forums but it’s great to see SketchUp team members contribute and reply, we are having this conversation because we love LayOut and see the potential there, we are vested in the software and want to see it succeed.


Fully concur.


Thanks for your reply Trent. To be fair, 98% of the work I did in LO for the two commercial buildings that I mentioned was done in LO 2017. By the time I installed LO 2018, I had already drawn all of my standard details in SU 2017 as previously described. I’m anxious to try out the new features in LO.

Here is my bottom line, that I don’t know if most CAD developers really grasp, and yes, I consider both SU and LO to be CAD. CAD stands for Computer Aided Design and if these programs don’t qualify as that, then what are they? When I sit down to work, I need to get as much done as quickly as possible while maintaining a professional level of output so that I can both “wow” my client and still make money. I therefore need to be able to work as quickly as possible. When AutoCAD was young (and they still have this now), to edit a line, you would highlight a ‘grip’ and move it. This is a very tedious and slow way to do things. So as new versions came out, they incorporated much faster ways of accomplishing the same ends. It seems to me that LO is currently in those younger AutoCAD days when it comes to speed of editing. I know it’s not AutoCAD - thank heavens - so I don’t expect it to work that way, but for some processes and commands it might make sense to look at the most effective solutions that currently exist to accomplish some of these mundane tasks as quickly as possible.

There are many things I love about the way Lo works, but I find that to turn out completed CDs takes more time than I believe it could. Personally, I really don’t want to have to keep relying on AC to fill in gaps that I’m confident LO could be made to handle.


You mean like this?

(my first stab at LiceCap here)


YES! Is this is LO 2018? I guess I should know what I’m talking about before I speak. I’ve been almost exclusively in SU since installing 2018. Thanks SU Team!


Sorry. No


Nope. That’s PowerCADD.

My problem is, I’m already used to all the stuff you’re wishing Layout could do, with PowerCADD (a.k.a. PowerDraw in the early years) for the last … (are you ready?) … 29 years. While Layout is a back-end to SketchUp in terms of work flow, for me, PC serves as both front-end and back-end in my SketchUp work flow; prepping 2D thoughts before working them into 3D in SU, and back to PC for page layout, as it were.

I’m not the only PC guy using SU either. There are many of us. Check out the example working drawings Gregory La Vardera has on the PC website (you have to scroll down and click the thumbnails to get the slide show). Mine look similar in terms of which sheets are more PC content and which are more SU content. BTW, on his sheet of steel work details, I recognize the welding note tool being used a lot.

The only thing LO does that PC doesn’t is place view ports from the SU model. I’m guessing the chances of getting access to that info for a third party developer is non existent, in which case, I’m just hoping to use LO to streamline the process of returning SU content back to PC.

As far as front end integration, it would be great if we didn’t have to go through DWG files to do that. In fact, Alfred Scott has proposed and created just such a process he calls Open Clip. His intention is that is be an open standard that any developer can join in on. With it, you just use the clipboard: copy in one app, switch, and paste in the other. He’s already accomplished this between PC and Form-Z (he shows an example on the web page there), though I’m not sure if it’s broken now. He has verbally expressed intent to do so for PC and SU, but last I talked to him, he was too busy with other projects.

If these two applications, could be seamlessly integrated, that would be the killer setup everybody is wishing for.


But that is my point. In the past I used AutoCAD front end and back end on my projects. I am now starting to use only SU and LO exclusively through the entire process. I just want some greater functionality in, especially LO to make it more efficient. Here is a floor plan that I am just starting on.


So, are those 2D plans done in SU/LO or ACAD?




Well said @novurba. I’d love it if SU / LO were a one stop shop for producing construction documentation, but as you say, LO isn’t up to standard yet.


I have to say, I’m in love with Sketchup. As brilliant as it is, however, there remains a need for it to output to marketable formats. This lets users earn a living, in turn allowing them to eat, buy Mercedeses and fancy homes and diapers for the kids, or afford ruinous college tuition as the case may be. It is LayOut’s job to facilitate producing sell-able stuff, and it fails.

On the other hand, the Trimble dev team have a lot on their plate, transitioning Sketchup to the Web and what not. We can empathize with that. I do. I also fear that if we hold our breath for a professional-grade LayOut, we shall perish from asphyxiation.

Realistically, the only part of LayOut that’s worth anything are the SketchUp viewports. The rest of the program is half-baked and fails to meet even the lowest standards of speed and usability. So, here is a suggestion.

Put LayOut out of its misery. Integrate SketchUp viewports into an established, open-source DTP program like Scribus, which is widely available, mature, stable, and quite competent at document production, and bundle that with Sketchup Pro. Alternatively, publish a viewport API. All this is not only legal under the GNU/GPL license, it is encouraged. Users would still need Pro to interface with the viewports so Trimble would not lose any revenue there, however they would free up valuable developer bandwidth.

Tell them you read it here first! You’re welcome :slight_smile: